How do you treat psoriasis?
There’s a few ways to treat psoriasis:
Psoriasis like Eczema can initially be treated with creams such as Cetraben or Epaderm, which moisturise and hydrate the skin to reduce dryness. You should avoid the use of soap on your skin as it could cause dry skin to get worse, and instead use products such as Oilatum bath oil or Aqueous cream as soap substitutes.
Other methods for treating psoriasis include:
- Vitamin D treatments – these have few side effects, and they work for 73.8% of people who use them at least 2 times daily
- Diet – some studies have shown that alcohol and dairy may lead to flare ups, reducing these can help with symptoms
- Relaxation techniques – stress is a big factor so meditation and relaxation techniques may improve your symptoms
- Combination treatments such as Diprosalic which contain salicylic acid to get rid of dry skin, and a steroid to reduce inflammation
- Coal tar and coconut based treatments such as Sebco or Cocois
- Topical corticosteroids
- Medicines that reduce inflammation such as ibuprofen or even steroid tablets.
If your psoriasis is particularly bad and not responding to any of the treatments above, you may require immunosuppressants such as methotrexate, or a type of medication known as Calcineurin inhibitors, which also suppress the immune system. Examples of this type of medication are Tacrolimus or Sirolimus. These medications are either applied onto the skin or as tablets that you swallow and require monitoring more closely over a certain period of time and are prescribed by a specialist dermatologist.
Light treatment, or PUVA, is also effective in the treatment of psoriasis and many patients note a significant improvement, however there is an increased risk of skin cancer in later life with this treatment so more care has to be taken when going out in the sun.
If these treatments don't work you may need to be seen by a dermatologist. They may suggest more specialist treatments including medicines that suppress your immune system or light treatments.
How does psoriasis treatment work? – psoriasis can’t be cured, so treatment usually works by reducing your symptoms, or stopping them from getting worse. Psoriasis causes growth of scaly skin that can be itchy, painful and dry. We don’t know all the reasons why, but when someone has psoriasis they create more skin cells, and at a faster rate than those without psoriasis. The skin also gets irritated and dry which can lead to bacterial and fungal infections occurring more frequently. Treatments will improve these symptoms by moisturising the skin, improving the inflammation, and slowing down how quickly new skin cells are made. Some treatments, when used for long periods of time, can reduce the number of flare ups you can get in the future.
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